Newsletter of the Department of Religious Studies
Santa Clara University
Perspectives Letter from the Department Season of Change
As the curtain goes down on this academic year we find ourselves exhausted, but not without a great sense of completion as well over what this amazing academic year has brought to us: • The appointment of Dr. Gary Macy, from University of San Diego, as the John Nobili, S.J. Professor of Theology, the first of our two new endowed professorships that will add strength to the theological life of the department. • The inauguration by Fr. Michael Buckley, S.J. of the Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J. Chair in Theology with his delivery of the annual Santa Clara Lecture on “Newman and the Interpersonal” in higher education.
Inside this issue: Letter from the Department
2007 Annual Religious Studies Reception
RS Reception Talk
Local Religion Project: Catholic Worlds
• The promotion of Dr. Frederick Parrella to Full Professor. • The granting of tenure to Professor Ana Maria Pineda, RSM. • The approval of an innovative new Core Curriculum that will be implemented in full in Fall 2009. This will also entail reforms of our own department curriculum, including the major, under the leadership of Professor Catherine Murphy. • -The growth in exciting new student research initiatives. One of them, the Religious Studies Student Gender Initiative, was spearheaded by RS majors and minors and resulted in their attendance at a major conference at Syracuse University on feminism, gender and the “return of religion.” These same students held a campus-wide symposium on the topics covered at the conference, and later held forth at an Ethics at Noon event. (Please see related story, p. 2). The initiative received financial support from the Provost’s Office (FSRAP Program), the Arts & Sciences Dean’s Office, Dean of Students, Campus Ministry, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education. • The announcement of two new interdisciplinary minors that involve our department directly: African Studies, in which Professor
Teresia Hinga has been a major player, and Arabic, Islamic & Middle Eastern Studies, which will be directed by our own Professor David Pinault. • The continuing involvement of the department in the Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries, and commitment to strengthening our ties to the program, ably led by Prof. Tom Powers, S.J.. • The announcement that the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley and Santa Clara are entering into a range of discussions that are intended to eventuate in the formal affiliation of JSTB with Santa Clara. Obviously, this involves our department and the Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries in central ways. • And our sponsorship of the national meeting of the Catholic Biblical Association this August, under the able leadership of Professor Catherine Murphy. There have been other milestones as well to note, above all the retirement of Professor Catherine Bell from the department. Professor Bell, one of the most distinguished religious scholars in the United States, and renowned for her contributions to ritual studies, will be spending time writing on one of her other major research interests, the nature of belief. The department hosted a reception for her on May 10 that was
attended by a throng of appreciative fellow faculty from throughout the University. At that reception the Dean announced that the President had conferred on her the title of Professor Emeritus, and the department announced the establishment of the Catherine Bell Research Fellowship. The Bell Fellowship will be awarded at the end of junior year to a student who proposes a joint studentfaculty research project in religion. Both students and faculty will be awarded a monetary stipend to advance the project. The first award will be made in May 2008, after a competition is announced.
“We congratulate our outstanding graduates, and we will be sorry to see them go.”
Also, Professor Philip Boo Riley has passed on the reins of leadership of the Local Religion Project, which he has ably led for the past three years. During that time it has become a model of what departments can accomplish in the realm of hands-on learning, and the linking of local and global religions and cultures. Professor Riley will be staying on the team as Senior Research Fellow, and a new leadership team will build on the foundations he has established.
And, in the fall we will be welcoming Prof. Aquiline Tarimo, S.J., from the Jesuit theology center in Nairobi. He will be teaching for us through the year and contributing to our efforts to build an inculturated theological program as well as the new African Studies minor. Dr. Rachel Bundang, our Bannan Fellow, will be returning for a second year and offering courses in her areas of specialization, including Asian Pacific theology and ethics. Returning from sabbaticals and leaves will be Professors Mick McCarthy, S.J., Tom Beaudoin, Cynthia Baker, and Michael Castori, S.J., and Tennant Wright, S.J., will soon be leaving for his annual summer and fall service in Belize. And I hope I’m not missing someone in this large department! Finally, we congratulate our outstanding graduates, and we will be so sorry to see them go. This has been a truly outstanding group of RS majors and minors, and you have all lent so much life and substance to the department. Please see the list of this
year’s major award winners (p. 5). Graduates, you have changed us as a department for the better, and we will never be quite the same! Thank you for being with us, and Godspeed. Dear Religious Studies Alumni: Our department is growing, and our ambitions are growing as well. Your gifts to the department to support our several faculty-student research initiatives, especially our newly established Catherine Bell Fellowship, will be instrumental to enriching the learning experience of our students. If you would like to make a contribution to their success, please make a check in any amount payable to “SCU Department of Religious Studies” marked “Research Fund.” All gifts will be tax deductible and gratefully received. Thank you! -Paul Crowley, S.J.
Department News The Religious Studies Student Gender Initiative
Profs. Catherine Bell, Ana Maria Pineda, R.S.M., David Gray, and Teresia Hinga
One of the most exciting initiatives in the department this quarter was planned and conducted by Religious Studies majors and minors. It centered upon the “Feminism, Sexuality, and the Return of Religion” conference, held at Syracuse University in Syracuse, NY, from 26-28 April,
2007. However, the initiative involved much more than just a trip to Syracuse. Several of the students involved have provided us with an account of their experience, as follows: In Our Own Words: The Religious Studies Student Gender Initiative: Angela Bustos, Jessica Coblentz, Theo Dykzuel,
Stephanie Edwards, Christina Leone, Kim McGiven, Maggi Van Dorn, James Servino, and Tessa Weston Pre-Conference: Stephanie Edwards It all started with the now famous note on Professor Crowley's white board, expressing student interest in the Syracuse University conference whose bright posters
hung on the walls of the office: “Feminism, Sexuality, and the Return of Religion.” Although the conference was months away, enthusiasm among the nine students involved in the project soon spurred near-weekly planning and fundraising meetings throughout the winter quarter. Mostly logistical themes, centered on questions of where we could find the funding, were tackled before we could explore the intellectual aspect of our endeavor. In the three weeks leading up to the conference, we met each Wednesday to discuss a selected reading by a conference presenter. As a group we covered an article by Helene Cixous, another by Catherine Keller and finally a selection from Saba Mahmood. Professors Kitty Murphy and Rachel Bundang facilitated the conversations and answered whatever questions we offered. While no conclusions about French Feminism can be found in an hour over a box of Girl Scouts' Thin Mints, an introduction to at least some of the subject matter was indispensable. Travel Adventures: Kim McGiven We spent six months planning for the conference at Syracuse. What we didn’t and couldn’t have planned for were the horrendous days of travel that it would take to get there. One of the longest days of our lives began before the sun came up on April 25th. Excitement and chatter raced amongst our group as we journeyed over to the airport and enjoyed Christina’s deliPage 3
cious homemade poppy-seed muffins in the terminal. Things started well as we routinely boarded the plane, made ourselves comfortable, and a few of us even dozed off. This sleep and comfort were disappointingly interrupted when we learned that a malfunction on our plane was going to lead to an hourlong delay in our time of departure. Luckily we were taking such delight in each other’s company that the delay was only a minor inconvenience, especially given the breakfast burritos, Cinnabons, and pinball game conveniently located in our terminal. After re-boarding the plane we enjoyed a second round of the lively seatbelt and safety demonstration and taxied around the runway before the plane parked for two hours. We finally soared into the sky four hours behind schedule, and we indulged in Sudoku, storytelling, sleeping, and homework before safely landing in Chicago. The Windy City brought us a whole new series of setbacks. Our team of ten had missed our connecting flight, so we marched through the terminal and approached the gate with travel agents. This was a place filled with hissing complaints and yelling demands. It was overflowing with business people who had missed important meetings, vacationers looking at spending the night in Chicago instead of Hawaii, and grandparents who would be missing out on their grandchildren’s birthday parties. It was interesting and borderline frightening to observe the dark side of human-
ity that ferociously roars when flights are cancelled, delayed, and rescheduled. We dove into this overwhelming mess before finally booking half of the group on a flight to Syracuse that evening. The other half was booked for the following day, but they would stick around for standby. Waiting at the airport.
After we enjoyed our second round of airport food we wandered through the overly crowded terminal and off to our gate. Awaiting us was additional hissing and yelling among passengers, but we managed to distract ourselves with a game of charades. Onlookers were even entertained by this, as we filled the room with excitement, shrieking, and laughter. We were lucky that this game was a long one, especially given the three-hour delay in our flight. We made a home out of several different airport corners as we were moved from gate to gate with each additional time delay. At 9:45 p.m. we finally boarded, but an unlucky few were left behind to fend for themselves in the whereabouts of Chicago until their flight the following day. It was 10:30 p.m. by the time they left the airport—too late to track down Fr. McCarthy for a drink—so with only the clothes on their backs, they headed for the Super 8 where they settled for a little Stephen Colbert before bed. Later that night the rest of us landed and journeyed off to the EconoLodge in Syracuse. We rolled up to one of the worst parts of town in the middle of the night to find that there were a number of
“In the three weeks leading up to the conference, we met each Wednesday to discuss a selected reading by a conference presenter.”
problems with our reservations. A few of us deliriously played guessing games and Pictionary in the lobby at 2 a.m., while the others responsibly handled the situation.
“The following two days were filled with academically intense papers.”
The Syracuse Conference: Maggi Van Dorn After the Super Eighters arrived in Syracuse the next day, we had the better part of the afternoon to rest up and take a stroll around Syracusea town of stunning architecture and chatty cab drivers. The conference began with a bang… a very French bang at that! Helene Cixous- a feminist poet, writer and philosopher graced us with a moving account of her intimate relationship with worldrenowned theorist/linguist Jacques Derrida. She wove together years of philosophical dialogue that encompassed but far surpassed feminist interests. The following two days were filled with academically intense papers presented by eminent scholars of philosophy, theory, anthropology and theology. These headliners included Catherine Keller, Saba Mahmood, Judith Butler, Mark Jordan, Kelly Brown Douglas, Sarah Coakley, and Gianni Vattimo. Each offered a thoughtprovoking response to the conference’s prompt: “Feminism, Sexuality, and the Return of Religion,” yet their papers were constructed out of their own respective disciplines. So for example, Keller was speaking as a Christian feminist theologian, while Mahmood was examining the political and social consequences of particular feminist theories through an
anthropological lens. Needless to say, this diversity of thought, language and approach kept us on our proverbial toes. We spent a lot of time trying to piece things together back at the Econolodge, but also had so much fun together! Our intellectual tensions were quickly released with a good and relaxing company of friends with whom we laughed abundantly. It was especially helpful the second day, when all of the speakers were gathered for a roundtable panel discussion. Some of the major themes and insights were teased out of this conversation, while at the same time, many complications arose. We soon learned that not all of the scholars were in agreement over the topics, much less the starting points for discussion. However, we all agreed that this made for a very rich, interesting experience. It was fascinating to see how many different kinds of people were drawn to the conference. Not only did it attract a broad band of speakers, but students of one kind or another as well. Among those asking questions were professors, ministers, graduate school students, and a light sprinkling of undergraduates, such as ourselves. Even those categories yielded more diversity in disciplines ranging from philosophy to social science to religion. Attending an academic conference of this caliber was like stepping into a whole new world for all of us. It was initially challenging to orient ourselves within this highly complicated web of
thought, yet with time, patience and quality group reflections, much was gained from the experience. One key moment was when our own Tessa Weston got the chance to speak with Catherine Keller at great length about her work. Keller was brilliant behind the podium, and so humble and gracious on the other side of it, which gave us all the confidence we needed to continue exploring this world of higher learning. We came away realizing that so much is possible for us to grapple with now! We simply must claim our agency as curious students and work to make these sorts of eyeopening opportunities possible. We sincerely hope that our experience may encourage more students to pursue their dreams and passionswherever they might lead. The Symposium: Tessa Weston When we first decided to have a symposium, the endeavor was ambiguous to say the least. We wanted to share our conference experience with the Santa Clara community, but we had to start planning the symposium long before we knew what we would learn. We came up with a format that would incorporate a synopsis of the conference papers, audience participation, and a panel discussion that would directly relate the issues presented at the conference to our own campus. Though the material at the conference was difficult, after many conversations, the conference papers came together into carefully considered “mini-papers” that we shared at the beginning of the symposium. We did our best to relate the complex
sexuality to life at SCU. Audience members offered articulate and thoughtprovoking questions that led us to think even more deeply about the issues at hand. We then ate a delicious Mediterranean meal and continued the discussion in small groups at the lunch tables. After lunch, panelists James Servino, Professor Rachel Bundang, Greg Schultz, and Professor Catherine Murphy graciously fielded questions like “What does SCU have to say about women’s ordination in the Catholic Church?” and “Why do you remain Catholic when you recognize its conflict with so many aspects of feminism and sexuality?” Response from attendees was positive and encouraging, and we were struck by the deep need to keep the dialogue going. Particularly at a
Catholic institution like Santa Clara, we must continually wrestle with the overlapping and complex themes of feminism, sexuality, and religion, and never stop asking ourselves what we can do at both the personal and institutional level to better empower the marginalized. Conclusions: Christina Leone This entire experience has been incredible—the initial planning, the reading groups, the conference and the symposium have surpassed all of our expectations. Not only was it an academically stimulating venture, but it was also spiritually and emotionally rewarding. In between our seven-hour lay-over in the Chicago airport and the daunting task of decoding the complex essays given by the speakers post-conference, the nine of us formed a unique
bond. After having such a positive experience, we all have discussed the future of the Religious Studies Student Gender Initiative. Our success with the Syracuse Conference has inspired the four remaining students to aim high for our next school year. We hope to explore other avenues available for facultystudent research; in fact, we are already dreaming about attending the AAR conference next year in San Diego! The most important, and indeed most satisfying, aspect of attending such academically rigorous events is making the issues raised accessible to the greater Santa Clara community. Hopefully, with continued generous funding and support from the university, the work of the Religious Studies Student Gender Initiative has just begun!
Back at SCU.
“The Department gathered on Tuesday, May 22, for its 14th annual RS Awards Reception.”
2007 Annual Religious Studies Reception The Department gathered on Tuesday, May 22, for its 14th annual RS Awards reception. It was hosted by Professor Catherine Murphy, and featured a talk by Professor Frederick Parrella. The event this year was notable in that many of the students decided to come in costume, dressed as saints, Hindu deities, and even Professor Crowley (who was impersonated by Angela Bustos). The department acknowledged the tremendous contribution made by Professor Catherine Bell to the department, and also the continuing contribution made by our Visiting Professor, Ven. Anil Sakya, who returned for a third visit this quarter. Page 5
Professor Philip Boo Riley was also honored for his work in establishing the Local Religion Project in the department. The highpoint of the reception was the induction of new students into Theta Alpha Kappa (the Religious Studies Honors society), and the announcement of the following annual department awards:
Disciple of Many Masters: Sarah Attwood and Angela Bustos Joseph Grassi Social Justice Award: Sarah Attwood Megan Raimondi (Honorable Mention)
Sarah Attwood and Megan Raimondi
Ted Mackin Senior Thesis Award: Tessa Weston James Servino (Honorable Mention)
Religious Studies Prize for Academically Outstanding Major: Kim McGiven
Many Faces of the Divine: Tessa Weston and Lauren Clyne
Religious Studies Prize for Academically Outstanding Minor: Kyle Stephenson
Local Religion Project Special Recognition: Kara Miyasato
Stephanie Edwards, Katy Lackey, Tessa Weston, and Christina Leone at the RS Reception.
RS Reception Talk It is a great pleasure for me to speak to our graduating seniors and to our majors and minors in Religious Studies this evening. Congratulations and best wishes to all of you receiving awards and to the inductees into Theta Alpha Kappa. Professor Frederick Parrella
“When the world is so complicated, don't be tempted to tune out.”
James Servino, Stephanie Edwards, and Professor Parrella
In a particularly difficult period of my life about 20 years ago, when focusing on teaching was a struggle every day, I would always sit in my office for a few minutes before class and ask myself: Fred (I would say), what one thing do you want to tell your students in this upcoming class. I have also suggested this question to other professors who have come to me for advice on teaching, especially when I sense they are so content-driven in the course, with never enough time to cover all the material. So too with students in search of a thesis: what one thing are you telling the reader in your paper? Thus, I thought to myself a few days ago: what singular message do I want to convey to you in this brief moment of congratulations and farewell. I decided in this simple bit of advice: listen. What a silly bit of advice, you may ask. I have been listening to professors spouting their knowledge and occasional wisdom for years; I listen to my parents’ advice all the time; I also listen to my boyfriend, girlfriend, or best friend, who often has more to tell me than I really want to hear; and, of course, I listen to my ipod (ah, those Scissor Sisters still don’t feel like dancin’.) So who and what else am I to listen to?
tiny will be played out. My answer is that I want you to listen to three “things.” First, I want you to listen to yourself. Not your ego-driven self that wants to control your life, and the lives of others; not that small self that too often fancies itself the center of the universe. No, I want you to listen to your great self, that Christ Self, that Buddha Self, that Brahmin Atman, that divine self; the self that knows its limitations, that is not proud, that self that yearns to share with others the fullness of life and the talents it have received. This is the Self you have sought to know in your religious studies classes, that has brought you joy, love, compassion, and friendship when you recognize it in others. You will hear it in those few quiet moments when the clamor and the din of the ego-self subside. Listen to its calling in the longings of your heart; listen to what is asks of you in the lifetime ahead of you. Be faithful to it. Second, I want you to listen to your culture and your world. Put down your ipod when there is a chance to speak with another human being. Be attentive to what is going on around you. When the world is so complicated, don’t be tempted to tune out. Be aware of what the media is telling you; of what politicians and world leaders are saying; of what artists from architects to rappers, from playwrights to would-be new Picassos, are telling you. Learn from them and be critical of them. They are shaping the world in which your des-
Finally, listen to the source of your great Self and all ground of all that constitutes the world that is not you—listen attentively to the Eternal One, the Nameless One, the One, in St. Paul’s words, who “dwells in accessible light.” Is does not matter if you call this ground of all that is real by the name of God, or Allah, or have no name at all. When the din of the ego self stops and the hubbub and clamor of the world cease for a few moments, you will hear the voice of the transcendent within, not beside the voice of your great Self, but hidden within the voice of your great Self. You will find this voice in the faces and in the hearts of others, those whom you love, those who reach out to you for help in all sorts of ways, and yes, even in the face of your enemies. Listen carefully to those in need, seek them out, and serve them. Know all the facts, but first trust your intuitions. To paraphrase Chesterton, the vault above us is not silent because the universe is an idiot. Listen to the silence. You have studied these three voices in your time here in Religious Studies. You have studied, in T. S. Eliot’s words, is “the point intersection of the timeless with time,” the presence of the eternal on the dusty roads of our temporal world. And you must continue to listen attentively to these voices for the rest of your lives. Beware of deception; be sure it is the deep calling unto the deep, not some nicely packaged but phony and shrill sound, like a
siren call that will lead to destruction. If you do listen— with care and humility—you will be given the gift of yourself to yourself; you will also confront the world with compassion, as both its lover and its harshest critic, which is the judgment that only true love can make. And you will be drawing ever nearer (with
apologies to Eliot) to the end of all your explorations and arrive at where you started when you will know the place for the first time. Congratulations on all that you have accomplished! Listen and listen carefully for all that you can and must still achieve, both for your true Self and the world that awaits your gifts and your
compassion. This is your world and you must come to love it as God loves it, in spite of its many contradictions and crosses. Truly, in your end is your beginning. The faculty and staff of Religious Studies celebrate this end with you, and, more important, this new beginning, and all of us wish you well. Good luck. -Fred Parrella
Local Religion Project: Catholic Worlds Over the course of this academic year, the Local Religion Project, under the leadership of Philip Boo Riley with the active participation of many of the department’s faculty members, has continued its core project of documenting Silicon Valley’s diverse religious landscape, and making this information available to professors and their students, in order to enrich the study of religious traditions at Santa Clara University. Many professors have used this information to develop their course offerings. They have done so by scheduling field trips, inviting guest speakers from local religious communities, and sending their student out in small groups to visit local religious institutions. Some of these classes have, in turn, contributed to the project, by gathering information about the groups that they have visited. During the Spring 2007, one of the more exciting initiatives has been the second series in the “Valley of the Gods” initiative. The first, in 2005, dealt with encounters among religions. This year’s series focused on “Catholic Worlds of Page 7
the Valley,” and was developed by Fr. Tennant Wright, S.J., and organized with the assistance of the Local Religion Project. This year’s series has spanned the entire quarter. Each week, for nine weeks, “Catholic Worlds of the Valley” has featured a leader from one of the Valley’s many Catholic worlds-ethnic churches, Diocesan offices, schools, prison ministry, lay organizations, gay and lesbian communities, etc. Instead of lectures, each week Fr. Wright has engaged leaders from the different organizations in conversation about “the experiences, questions, passions” that shape their engagement with one of the worlds making up the Valley’s multifaceted Catholic faith community. This series was offered in conjunction with Fr. Wright’s course “Catholic Worlds of the Valley,” and for the one hour public program his class was joined by other SCU students, faculty and staff, and interested folks from the community. This series has shown that the Silicon Valley is diverse not only with respect to the presence of numerous different religions. It has also demonstrated that traditions such as “Catholicism,” which are often
seen as monolithic entities, are themselves extremely diverse, consisting of numerous groups and initiatives with remarkably different objectives and understandings of what it means to live a religious life. It has thus contributed to our understanding of the community in which we live, and tentative plans are underway for next year’s focus. The Local Religion Project also has a grant to support a research project on “comparative contemplative practices in the valley.” Dr. Sarita Tamayo-Moraga developed a course on comparative mysticism in which students study with a local master for four class sessions—either Zen meditation, with Ven. Jian hu, abbot of Chung Tai Zen Center, or centering prayer, with Jane Ferguson, director of pastoral care and community service at St. Mary’s Church in Los Gatos. Students kept a journal on their meditation practices, and at the same time monitored the war on terror. A panel presentation on the project was held at the end of the quarter. -David Gray
“...Silicon Valley is diverse not only with respect to presence of numerous different religions.”
Profs. Paul Crowley, S.J. and Boo Riley
Santa Clara University
Graduating Religious Studies Seniors 2007 * = Theta Alpha Kappa Honor Society RS Majors Sarah Atwood* Angela Bustos* Kelsey Caulum Lauren Clyne* Stephanie Edwards* Kate Lackey* Emory Lynch* Kimberly McGiven* Megan Raimondi* James Servino Tessa Weston*
Department Assistance David Gray | Melody Park | Vicky Gonzalez | Paul Crowley, SJ (Chair)
Perspectives Newsletter of the Department of Religious Studies Santa Clara University 500 El Camino Real Santa Clara, CA 95053-0335
RS Minors Nicole Brand-Cousy* Heather Campion Kelly Dugan* Aris Gregorian Christine Johnson Anna Martin Christine Masterman Kara Miyasato* Heather Ordonez* Katayoon Parineh* Kyle Stephenson* Ian Tan*